How women should deal hostile work Environment Any women who feels scared, intimidated, or uncomfortable due to abuse or intimidation by a co-worker, it creates what is called a hostile work environment. A hostile work environment is also referred to as an “offensive/toxic work environment,” or an “abusive work environment.” The individual causing a hostile work environment may be an employee, a supervisor, an owner, or even and independent contractor. Any women experiencing a situation that makes their work environment difficult or unbearable can deal with a hostile work environment by choosing following options depending upon the situation:
The world is far from perfect! There are bound to be challenges & injustice. I strongly believe that we ourselves are responsible for the way we get treated. If you feel weak/strong, portray yourself weak/strong, that is how you will be perceived too & responses/actions/reactions would follow in a similar manner.
I compliment the Voice of Woman survey effort across more than 3000 women at the workplace as its a step in the right direction and not a day too soon. With POSH and Internal Complaints Committees being a legal requirement in all workplaces, the legislation in India today ensures that all workplaces have a secure architecture and guidelines are laid down to deal with cases of harassment, once they get reported. But “once they get reported” is the operative phrase. Harassment at the workplace can take many forms – overt and covert. A touch here, a bad look south of the chin, a slight brush, a slimy remark, a whatsapp joke that is in bad taste – these actions sound familiar and are far more endemic than we think. And the perpetrator can be just anybody. When it’s a senior person, then that is also abuse of power. Sometimes they emanate from a pure lack of character, but equally they emanate from lack of exposure and conscious and unconscious biases that are deep rooted in our psyche.
It sounds simple enough, yet in my experience I’ve found Simple Mantra of dealing with workplace bullying P.P.C – Practice Personal Courage. Courage isn’t just about leaping out of airplanes or rappelling off cliffs. It’s also the mettle we need to manage discrimination, dilemmas, and harassment. Courage is the strength we need to cope with adversity as and can be learned and developed through practicing.
Women needs to first be able to recognise that there is a bias due to her gender/ marital status / plan of starting a family. Second thing she needs to understand the what kind of organization she is working for. If it’s a startup, then it would be very fair if she ensures that she will not leave middle of her project for any of the reasons mentioned above. But if she is working with MNCs or large corporates then she must be determined to go through the process of reporting any injustice done to her due to her gender/ marital status/ plans of starting a family. She must plan it with her family and along with their support, always communicate via written and traceable mode of communication. Most of the time these issues are brainchild of one particular person in the organisation and it can be easily handled by the HR if they are sensitive enough. One must complain in writing to the Internal Complaint Committee within the first 30 days of the event. If needed proof of the event must be submitted too.
I was born in a middle-class family to highly educated and relatively broad-minded parents. My schooling was in a co-education environment, and yet the single biggest struggle in my growing up years was to deal with not getting the same degree of freedom as my brother. I was a fighter and would often rebel, when I could not understand the crooked logic. As my world grew beyond my family and friends, I realized that it wasn’t just my fight, the karma was deeper and the mission was bigger. Congratulations to all the women who have stood their own and kept their promise to celebrate their womanhood, by courageously pursuing their goals.
“Fight for gender equality is not a fight against men. It is a fight against traditions that have chained them – a fight against attitudes that are ingrained in the society – it is a fight against system – a fight against proverbial Lakshman Rekha which is different for men and different for women. The society must rise to the occasion. It must recognize & accept fact that men and women are equal partners in life. They are individual who have their own identity”.
It’s a real shame but even today there are destructive workplace behaviours in many organizations that adversely impact women and their safety, productivity, health, and confidence. These range from a hostile working environment created by a manager or a peer as well as discrimination based on gender or even harassment. For those of you who are starting your career, it’s going to be frustrating and confusing but you’re going to have to find a way to deal with it. For those of you who have dealt with it or may be facing a toxic situation currently, please know that you are not alone.
The Voice of Women Survey-2017 reveals some extremely distressing statistics on discrimination and harassment faced by women at the workplace. However, if we consider that since the time more and more women began joining the labor force, we have witnessed a spike in violence against women, these figures are not at all appalling. They only reinforce the fact that operative biases, prejudices and discriminatory practices against women are deeply entrenched in our society and find their way in the workplace.
90% of workplace harassment is never officially reported. Harassment of women at workplace is a serious problem and it is alarming how often it goes unreported. You need not to be polite and take formal steps to inform your Human Resources Manager, your immediate supervisor that someone is bullying you. Provide all the information and make sure that it is all documented. Keep a log of the occurrences with dates, names and an outline of description. If you see nothing happening in a reasonable time, take it to the Business Leaders or Senior Management (Directors, VP, Business Owners, etc.).